Dr Monique Faleafa delivers the Keynote Address at the annual New Zealand Psychology Conference
The New Zealand Psychological Society held its annual conference in Rotorua from 27-30 August. The conference theme Tuia tea o whānau whānui kia puāwai – Our relational world-psychology contributing to human flourishing, provided an opportunity for Le Va’s CEO Dr Monique Faleafa, also a clinical psychologist, to deliver the keynote address to local and international psychologists.
Dr Faleafa described how Pasifika people in Aotearoa New Zealand have higher 12-month prevalence rates of mental illness (25.0%) compared with the general New Zealand population (20.7%), and a teen suicide attempt rate three times higher – yet the lowest access rates to support services across all ethnicities. She acknowledged that the concept of psychology and clinical psychology approaches to supporting people’s mental health has for the most part, been perceived as foreign or irrelevant for traditional Pasifika communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific Region. However, with the recent emergence of Pasifika registered psychologists, who have the ability to navigate cultural, clinical and western scientific worlds and the emergence of psychological research that includes Pacific populations, psychological approaches are becoming more relevant, accessible and effective for Pasifika people and their families.
Dr Faleafa provided practical examples of how Le Va’s successful approach utilising our 3C model – Culture, Community and Clinical – has enabled our families and communities free and easy access to evidence-based psychological tools and training programmes. Examples include:
- Aunty Dee, an award-winning online problem-solving tool co-designed by and for young people.
- The LifeKeepers suicide prevention training programme, designed for people who are likely to come in contact with those at risk of suicide, and FLO Pasifika For Life (FLO), a community-based programme which aims to empower and equip Pacific communities with culturally relevant knowledge and tools to prevent suicide and to respond safely and effectively when a suicide happens.
- The Mental Wealth Project, a mental health literacy education for families. It helps equip young people and their families with knowledge, tools and skills to reduce stigma, improve wellbeing, spot warning signs of mental distress, and enhance access to the right care and support when they need it.